A cracked tooth can affect your day-to-day life. Sometimes you may not even realize your tooth is cracked, but if you suspect any problem with your oral health, it’s important to see your dentist. The sooner you get treatment, the less likely you are to suffer an infection.
Why Do Teeth Crack?
Teeth can crack for a number of reasons. If you grind or clench your teeth while you sleep, this can make them more susceptible to cracking. If you regularly chew on ice, hard candy or other hard objects, you’re also at a greater risk.
Your teeth might be brittle due to root canal treatment, or you might have injured them in an accident. You also could have had improper dental work, such as fillings that were too large, which can lead to a crack.
How Can You Tell?
The degree of discomfort you feel from a cracked tooth can vary. It most likely will hurt when you bite down, because the pressure causes the crack to open, exposing your inner pulp, which contains nerve endings. It can be hard to pinpoint the exact location of a cracked tooth, as you may have pain that radiates throughout your mouth.
You also may avoid certain foods or liquids that are too hot or cold. Some foods and drinks also can irritate the nerves inside a tooth once a crack exposes the pulp.
What Will the Dentist Do?
To narrow down the location of the crack, the dentist may have you undergo a bite test to determine which tooth is affected. Cracks usually do not show up on X-rays, making them difficult to pinpoint.
Once your dentist understands the extent of the crack and how it is affecting you, he or she can make recommendations to relieve pain and restore your oral health.
If the crack is severe, you may have to have the tooth extracted. Small cracks will not warrant this procedure, however. You may be able to have your tooth restored with a filling or a crown. If your dentist believes your tooth’s pulp has been compromised, he or she also will recommend a root canal to ward off infection.
If your teeth have suffered trauma or if you think they need attention for another reason, schedule an appointment with Oak Hills Dentistry. We are here for you to provide exceptional dental care in all situations, whether routine or emergency, including when you have a cracked tooth.